We don’t know if Fidèle bit, but the millionaire’s dog, back when they were both alive, did write some pretty biting letters.
The art uprooting happened last year when, against his will (the written kind), the Barnes Foundation toted the eccentric collector’s masterpieces from suburban Merion to downtown Philadelphia — 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses and 46 Picassos included.
The dissing of Fidèle — a mid-sized black and white dog — just occured.
An exhibit at the new museum containing Fidèle’s dog bed, and several letters that the dog “wrote,” has been closed to make room for a showing of sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly, Bloomberg reports.
As the Bloomberg reporter sees it, the change — while maybe not anyone’s intention — further removes Barnes from the impressive array of art he collected:
“Less than a year after Albert Barnes’s art, uprooted from its original home in Merion, Pennsylvania, occupied new quarters, the collector himself has been removed from the Philadelphia museum that now houses his treasures.”
Last May, after years of lawsuits and heated opposition, and in a saga far too intricate to fully cover here, the Barnes Foundation, which oversees the collection, moved the art to a modern building in downtown Philadelphia, where it was thought it would be more accessible to the public.
That ran counter to what Barnes specified in the will he had written before his death in 1951, in which he expressly forbade moving the pictures from Merion.
The foundation – to show some respect to the man they were disobeying — opened the new downtown museum with a special show in tribute to him, entitled, “Ensemble: Albert C. Barnes and the Experiment in Education.”
It depicted the history of the collection, and the man behind it — a doctor, chemist and the developer of Argyrol, an antiseptic useful for the treatment of gonorrhea.
Fidèle once wrote Winston Churchill to congratulate him on the liberation of France (where she was from). More commonly, she wrote to express her owner’s anger over something, or to art critics who had requested to view his master’s collection. Generally, she would reject the requests, sometimes in a rude and sassy manner that reflected Barnes’s distaste with the art establishment.
“While the Barnes tribute was never described as permanent, its removal struck some as a further slight to the man and his legacy,” Bloomberg reported.
The new exhibit, “Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall,” opens May 4. A spokesperson for the foundation said that, despite the old exhibit closing, continued efforts are underway to ensure Barnes keeps a high profile.
Fidèle’s profile appears to be less of a concern.
Maybe she should write a letter.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: albert barnes, animals, art, barnes foundation, bed, cezanne, collection, collector, dog, dogs, exhibit, fidele, last wishes, letters, matisse, merion, moved, museum, pets, philadelphia, picasso, removed, renoir, replaced, will
A Chicago-area man has left $1.5 million to local animal shelters, specifying that the money go only to those that have no-kill policies.
Sylvester Czopek died in October of last year at age 84 in a hospice in Joliet.
Before his death, he set up a trust directing that his estate’s assets be distributed among local animal shelters that — though the definition of “no-kill” can vary — strive to avoid euthanizing pets who don’t get adopted.
Czopek, according to WLS, was the last of five brothers from Lemont, all of whom never married.
WLS reported that the $1.5 million will be split between five no-kill shelters:
- Will County Humane Society in Shorewood
- West Suburban Humane Society in Downers Grove
- Naperville Area Humane Society
- Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge
- PAWS Chicago Adoption Center
Posted by jwoestendiek December 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal, animal welfare, Animal Welfare League, bequeath, chicago, dogs, donation, euthanasia, Naperville Area Humane Society, no-kill no kill, PAWS Chicago Adoption Center, pets, shelters, Sylvester Czopek, trust, West Suburban Humane Society, will, Will County Humane Society
With the death of his owner Maria Assunta, who took him in off the streets, Tommasino inherits, kind of, her $13.3 milliion fortune.
Assunta, the childless widow of a wealthy builder, initially tried to find an animal welfare association that would take care of the cat after her death, the Telegraph reports.
But none, in her view, provided adequate assurances for his future, according to her lawyer.
Instead, Assunta — 94 when she died last month — bequeathed her entire estate to Tomassino, and appointed a fellow cat lover as a trustee. The millionaire cat is now living at an undisclosed location outside Rome with that trustee, who is being identified only as “Stefania.”
Under Italian law, animals cannot inherit directly, but can be named beneficiaries once a trustee is found.
According to news reports, Assunta met Stefania in a park, and sometimes the two got their cats together for play dates. Stefania, a nurse, also went on to help take care of Assunta.
“She was very discreet and quite, I knew very little of her private life,” Stefania said.
“I promised her that I would look after the cat when she was no longer around. She wanted to be sure that (he) would be loved and cuddled.”
The Telegraph reports that only two other animals have inherited more money than Tommasino.
The world’s richest animal is believed to be Gunter, a German shepherd who was left $138 million by heiress Karlotta Liebenstien. Kalu, a chimpanzee, was the beneficiary of $61 million bequeathed by Patricia O’Neill, wife of former Australian swimming champion Frank O’Neill.
(Photo: That’s Tommasino at the bottom; Sky News)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bequeathed, cat, estate, inheritance, inherited, inherits, italy, maria assunta, millionaire, pets, richest, rome, stefania, stray, tommasino, trustee, wealth, will
Trouble, who Helmsley left $12 million — but who only got $2 million – passed away in Florida. She was 12.
Either her death was a well guarded secret, or the news media doesn’t sniff out stories as quickly as it used to: Trouble died almost six months ago, in December. (The media seems equally callous about Trouble’s gender, with a good half of all reports calling her a him.)
While Helmlsey, who died in 2007, wanted Trouble buried next to her, that won’t be happening.
Even though Helmsley is interred in a 12,000 square-foot family mausoleum, a board member at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, north of New York City said, sniffily: Dogs are not permitted.
Instead, Trouble has been cremated, and her remains are being “privately retained,” according to the New York Daily News.
As for the remainder of the $2 million earmarked for the dog’s care — probably a good $1.5 million – it will revert to the Helmsley Trust and, if the past is any indication, be spent as the the trustees see fit, as opposed to following Helmsley’s wishes.
While Helmsley left the dog $12 million, a judge later knocked it down to $2 million. Helmsley also requested that much of her fortune, estimated at upwards of $5 billion, go to dog-related causes, but she was snubbed in that regard as well. Only a small percentage of the millions the foundation has given away has gone to animal welfare organizations. Several sued to get a bigger piece, but a judge said no.
Since 2007, Trouble has been cared for by Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle hotel in Sarasota.
Lekic estimated about $100,000 a year was spent on taking care of Trouble – $8,000 for grooming, $1,200 for food and the rest for his fee and a full-time security guard.
Trouble died in December after “a series of health setbacks that left her blind and infirm,” the Daily News said.
Trouble was purchased at a Manhattan pet shop to console Helmsley after the death of her husband, Harry, and spent most of her life in luxury, traveling with Helmsley in private jets and stretch limousines.
Despite her inherited millions, Trouble was not the richest dog in the world, MSNBC reports.
That distinction belongs to Gunther IV, a German dog left $372 million by his owner. In America, Miss Charlie Brown, an English cocker spaniel in South Dakota, stands to inherit $130 million from her mineral magnate owners. And Oprah Winfrey, MSNBC said, is rumored to have earmarked $30 million for the care of her pups.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, billionaire, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, estate, foundation, gunther IV, helmsley, last wishes, leona helmsley, maltese, media, millionaire, miss charlie brown, news, oprah winfrey, pets, rich, trouble, trust, trustees, wealth, wealthiest dogs, will
If Leona Helmsley was betrayed as much in life as she is being betrayed in death, it’s easy to understand why she might have become the bitch — and we’re not talking female dog — she was so often portrayed as.
In the latest development with the wealth she left behind, a second judge has ruled, in effect, that the foundation divvying up her fortune among charitable groups need not follow her express wish that much of that money be spent on the care of dogs.
The judge denied a bid by the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and other animal groups to get a larger share of Helmsley’s billions.
Although Helmsley directed a share of her massive fortune go to “the care of dogs” — that being in addition to the $12 million she asked be left to her own dog — the Helmsley Foundation’s trustees have seen fit to dispense most of the foundation money among organizations that have little or nothing to do with canines.
According to the animal welfare groups, only about $100,000 of the $450 million the foundation has given away has gone to dog causes.
The dog charities argued they should have standing to challenge how the foundation gives away its money in light of Helmsley’s written statements and last wishes. Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, called the $100,000 received so far ”a trifling amount, and contrary to Helmsley’s intentions.”
Surrogate’s Court Judge Nora Anderson in Manhattan rejected the bid by the animal welfare organizations to intervene in the case, agreeing with a judge who ruled earlier that the trustees have sole discretion in how to distribute the money, the New York Post reported yesterday.
She said she feared the groups’ challenge could open the floodgates to countless lawsuits from dog organizations around the world.
It’s hardly the first time Helmsley’s last wishes have been overruled since her death: Of that $12 million she left in her will for the care of her Maltese, named Trouble, a judge reduced the amount to $2 million.
Beyond what she intended to leave for the care and feeding of Trouble, Helmsley had another $5 to $8 billion, according to estimates of the trust’s worth.
Helmsley, who died in 2007, wrote in a 2004 mission statement for the trust that she wanted that money used for “1) purposes related to the provision or care of dogs and 2) such other charitable activities as the Trustees shall determine.”
In 2009, though, the Surrogate’s Court found that the mission statement did not place any legal restrictions on what donations could be made from the trust.
Later that year, the ASPCA, the Humane Society and Maddie’s Fund, filed a motion asking the court to vacate its earlier order and allow them to intervene. The primary interest of those groups was not, of course, in seeing solely that Helmsley’s wishes were honored, but neither, it seems, are the foundation’s. The animal welfare groups’ goals seem more aligned with her wishes, though.
By all descriptions, the so-called ”queen of mean” was a hard-hearted woman, with one soft spot — dogs.
The foundation doling out her fortune doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for dogs, or for Helmsley.
I’m no legal expert, just a dog lover, and I’m not asking for Trouble. But if I arranged to leave my fortune – non-existent though it may currently be — to my dog Ace, or anywhere else, and you didn’t carry out my wishes, you can be sure I’d be back to haunt you.
I’d show you mean.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 9th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, aspca, bequeath, bequest, billions, bitch, charities, death, dogs, editorial, fortune, groups, helmsley foundation, hsus, humane society of the united states, inheritance, intervene, judge, leona helmsley, mean, organizations, pets, queen of mean, ruling, trouble, wayne pacelle, will
Gail Posner, the daughter of corporate-takeover king Victor Posner, has bequeathed her $8.3 million Miami mansion and a $3 million trust fund to her dogs, the New York Post reports.
Also named in the will were seven personal aides, including bodyguards and housekeepers, who were given a total of $26 million — and the right to live rent-free in the mansion while caring for the animals, according to court papers.
The 67-year-old heiress died in March.
Posner had three pets, including a Chihuahua named Conchita that she once called “one of the world’s most spoiled dogs.”
Gail Posner’s only living son, Hollywood screenwriter Bret Carr, has filed a lawsuit claiming his mom was drugged and “brainwashed” by her aides into leaving so much to her dogs.
In a 2007 interview, Posner admitted to buying a $15,000 diamond-studded Cartier necklace for Conchita. and once considered buying him his own Range Rover.
Posner changed her will in 2008, after she was already dying from cancer, and added the vast sums for her pups and workers.
The case is reminiscent of that of hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, who left $12 million to her Maltese, named Trouble, while snubbing two of her grandkids. A judge later knocked the amount the dog would receive down to a mere $2 million.
(Photo: Miami Herald)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $3 million, animals, bequeath, bret carr, cancer, chihuahua, conchita, daughter, dogs, estate, gail posner, heiress, lawsuit, leona helmsley, mansion, miami, news, ohmidog!, pets, son, trouble, victor posner, will
I don’t begin to understand the intricacies of estate law, or the intricacies of Leona Helmsley — but I do believe this: A person, even if they are certifiably insane, deserves to have their last request honored.
With the distribution of the first $136 million from Helmsley’s multibillion-dollar estate, its trustees have shown — like judges before them — they don’t give a squat about Helmsley’s wishes, or the nation’s dogs.
The bulk of the money went to medical centers; only $1 million of the estate was donated to the care of dogs, which Helmsley had designated as primary beneficiary of her $5 billion.
“This is a trifling and embarrassingly small amount,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. “Mrs. Helmsley’s wishes are clearly being subverted.”
Pacelle added, “We are extremely disappointed that less than 1 percent of the allocation announced is going to animal-related organizations, and only one-tenth of 1 percent is going to animal welfare organizations … We are in touch with the interested parties and are hoping to have a satisfactory resolution — a much larger percentage than 1 percent.”
After Helmsley’s 2007 death, it was revealed that she had drafted a statement four years earlier listing poor people and dogs as the causes to which she wanted her money donated. She crossed out the poor a year later. In February, though, a Manhattan judge ruled that the trustees had sole discretion in disbursing her assets and that the entire estate did not have to go to the dogs.
Helmsley also left $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble, but a judge reduced Trouble’s trust fund to $2 million in negotiating a $6 million settlement with two of Mrs. Helmsley’s grandchildren who were left out of her will.
Tuesday’s grants went to a digestive diseases center at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center ($40 million) and Mount Sinai Medical Center ($35 million). The Mount Sinai money is to be used to create a center to study the electrical properties of cells and tissues and to establish a Helmsley Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, according to the New York Times. The $1 million for animal welfare was divided among 10 charities, including the ASPCA and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
I’m not sure even the honor of having a “bowel disease center” named after her would make up for the total disregard for her wishes. The trustees have shown that they are not to be trusted — at least when it comes to doling out the dough in a manner that comes anywhere close to what she wanted.
It shouldn’t be up to relatives, judges or anyone else to reinterpret the instructions one leaves upon one’s death — even if the deceased is mentally incompetent, as some might argue leaving $5 billion to dogs indicates. I’m not one of them. Who’s to say probing the mysteries of human bowels is more important than animal welfare? The trustees, apparently, in a decision that shouldn’t even be their’s to make in the first place. A person’s last wishes — if they’re not harming anyone — should be carried out, doggone it, even if they are stark raving mad.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, assets, blind, charities, dogs, estate, fund, grant, guide dogs, helmsley, hsus, humane society, judge, leona, maltese, settlement, trouble, trust, trustees, will
Trustees of real estate baroness Leona Helmsley’s estate say they’re giving $136 million to charity — and only $1 million of that is going to the dogs.
Animal rights groups rejoiced last year at reports that Helmsley, who died in 2007 at age 87, wanted her entire multibillion-dollar fortune to go to dog-related charities
But a court ruled in February that the trustees had authority to decide which charities could receive funds. Apparently dogs — and Helmsley’s wishes — rated pretty low in the decision-making process. The judge’s decision did not affect the $12 million Helmsley bequeathed to her Maltese, Trouble.
Helmsley’s estate yesterday announced its first round of charitable grants. The largest, $40 million, went to New York’s Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Most of the money went to health care systems across the country, Newsday reported today.
Helmsley’s estate distributed $1 million to 10 animal rights groups, including $100,000 to the ASPCA.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 21st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal rights, animal welfare, aspca, benficiaries, charities, dogs, estate, fortune, leona helmsley, millions, trustees, will
The Federal Hill home of Kenneth Munzert sold at auction today for $808,500 — the bulk of which, under the terms of his will, now goes to an animal shelter in Richmond, Virginia.
It took auctioneer Tim Jennings, who stood on the house’s marble steps, less than 5 minutes to complete the sale to Mahlon Apgar of Ruxton, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Munzert, a retired engineer who died last year at age 88, left his home at 405 Warren Ave to the SPCA of Richmond, which had pledged to care for his dog in the event of Munzert’s death.
The dog, a former stray named Beauregard, ended up dying before his master, but Munzert still stipulated that the agency recieve the profits from the sale of his home.
Munzert’s will, filed in Baltimore last month, left three quarters of his $990,228 estate — an amount that didn’t include the house in Federal Hill — to animal protection groups.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal lover, animal protection groups, auction, beauregard, bequeath, bequest, dog, estate, house, kenneth, mahlon apgar, munzert, news, richmond, spca, virginia, warren avenue, will
Kenneth Munzert, a wealthy Baltimore man who died last year, left what could turn out to be more than a million dollars to animal welfare organizations — much of it in memory of his loyal German shepherd, Beauregard.
According to a will filed in Baltimore last month, Munzert left an estimated $990,228 – three-quarters of which is directed to animal protection groups. That amount doesn’t include his house in Federal Hill, overlooking the Inner Harbor.
The house, which appears in the Al Pacino movie, “And Justice for All,” will be auctioned March 31, with proceeds going to the SPCA of Richmond, Va., an organization that had agreed to care for Beauregard if Munzert preceded him in death.
Munzert — a private and eccentric man who sometimes slept with his dog on the floor — died last year at 88, with no close family. A story about Munzert and his bequest appears in today’s Baltimore Sun.
On the Richmond SPCA website, CEO Robin Starr Starr explains how she came to know Munzert.
“I came to know Ken a number of years ago when his attorney contacted me because Ken was deeply concerned that he might predecease his beloved dog, Beauregard, and he had no friends or family who could give Beau a good home for the remainder of his life.
“The attorney asked me if I would consider accepting responsibility for Beau, with a promise not to euthanize him unless medically necessary for the remainder of his life. I had not made a practice of accepting responsibility for people’s pets after their death but, after I spoke with Ken, I agreed to do so for Beau.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal protection, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, beau, beauregard, bequest, care, death, dog, donation, federal hill, funding, german shepherd, harbor, house, million, munzert, richmond spca, will